Elaine Ngeow enroled in a Graduate Diploma in Creative Technologies after deciding that she wanted to specialise in multiple creative digital disciplines. Here, she tells us in her own words about her time at Media Design School and shares some insights into her role at Communica, a full service web agency based in Auckland.
Before studying with Media Design School, I'd been working as an in-house Graphic Designer for a local skincare company. It was a good, steady, creative job but I didn't feel quite satisfied with where I was going in that area. Discovering the new GDCT course offered by Media Design School was exciting as I'd always had an interest in web but was unsure about how to break into the industry, and what the course had to offer really appealed to me.
Coming from a more traditional Fine Arts school, I really liked how on trend and focused Media Design School was on using new technologies, which was fed back into both the modern facilities and students. The very open and multicultural vibe of the school was also a huge plus, and the school as a whole just had a very open and down-to-earth feel that I found very enjoyable.
The lecturer I admired most was Matt Stevens. I admire not only the knowledge he has about the industry, but also that he also continuously wanted to learn from the students as well. The amount of time and effort he put into us students was also amazing, ensuring he was available to help bring out the best in our individual projects throughout the course, and checking up and making sure we have a good end-of-year exhibition and placements even after the course was finished.
I am currently a front-end designer and developer at Communica, which is a fun, tight-knit little web studio. Having been nicknamed the 'CSS Queen' and colouring department, a large portion of my job is to build and theme websites using the Drupal CMS, while at other times I get to let my creative juices run free over designing sites. On occasion, I will re-theme or edit pre-existing websites, do the odd bit of print work, and attend in client meetings to provide technical support to the Creative Director.
Working in a smaller team is busy due to the many jobs being juggled, it also gives me a lot of opportunity continue my growth in areas besides that as a front-end developer. Attending meeting's has given a lot of insight and confidence in communicating with clients, while working closely with the studio's backend developers on a regularly basis has allowed me to delve into more intensive programming languages. Coming fresh into the web industry, it's been a great eye-opener and a steep learning curve that's been well worth it.
While it can get stressful at times, I love that it's a job that's not monotonous. Every day is different; I could be jumping between 2 - 3 different theming taks one day, then working on a site design and meeting a client in the next. Being part of a smaller team makes it easier to ask and share knowledge, and the studio has a very supportive environment where the team are constantly encouraged to learn and keep up with current technologies while not forgetting to have fun and enjoy our work!
The people I've met in the GDCT course are what made it such a memorable and fun experience. There have been many fun debates, sharing of ideas, critiques, and just general banter that have helped grow both my educational and personal knowledge. But most of all, the supportiveness off my peers and lecturer while going through a personal loss while studying was what my time at Media Design School most memorable. Being surrounded by like-minded peers who are now great friends that continue sharing knowledge and growing with is the best experience of all.
Media Design School is a great environment where you can take a leap and flounder a bit in the deep end experimenting and finding your own style but still having the benefit of lecturers and peers to help with the journey. Nothing good comes without effort, so be prepared to work hard, and try to keep on track with assignments rather than leave everything to the last minute. But above all, it's a good place to meet new friends and future contacts, with knowledgeable lecturers who are easy to go to for help or advice